Monday, February 11, 2019



Dear Ian,

     Yesterday I was walking our dogs by the river. I know the trail so well I could name each brier and clump of winter grass. The sun was bright and we tromped along and the strange abundance of the recent rains was evident. Such odd lushness for the winter. 
      In a place it was not meant to be was a large new box taped shut and thrown into the woods. So waxy and clean that it must have been from a Christmas gift...a BBQ grill or something , but now tossed out and in the path of our morning walk. Imprisoned inside, and given a slow death sentence was a skunk, she was silent and still in there, her smell the only clue that she might still be alive. She had tried to escape, gnawing a small hole there and poking her claws through in other places, but the waxy newness of the box was too strong.  Well I am sure you know what I did, Ian.... I tore the tape loose, pulled open the top and moved back slowly. Maybe the skunk still had some life in her, maybe she could find her way to the water nearby, was all I could think of at the time. Funny, it never occurred to me that I might get sprayed. You see, that's is what happens when we find ourselves and our hidden courage; when we are sure of what to do. The decision makes it self and we act. I feel so few moments of courage anymore that the punch of my own decisiveness was a shock. 

 being so near the river she could smell the water,
through the small chewed hole.... 
   locked away helpless and thirsty.
 Imagine that. 

    After catching a glimpse of her inside, nose crammed in the furthest corner and still as death,  we left her alone for a while; and me and the dogs moved away and left her alone.  Coming back later to find she had indeed escaped, leaving nothing but a pile of dry fur and her scent behind. 
      It was a victory and it satisfied me to the point of a smile. I felt you . I thought of you and all the big and small bit of life we have saved and tried to save in the years we had together. A baby armadillo, countless stunned birds, lizards, turtles, baby mice, kittens, and of course, some stray people, too. Those moments are more real to me now than almost anything else I can see or touch or imagine.  You and I brought out the courage in each other, and for that I am so grateful, baby.         Walking home I thought about the irony of that. Our mutual folly that things can be saved; that may well be the only reason we walk this ground in this life. As for the skunk, who shall forever more be known as Grace,  though she was indeed left to die in a shitty and cruel way, as fate would have it, she has  likely landed in a sweet new home; one I am most happy to share. This is not the end of the story......

    Coming home and sitting to reflect on all this on my back porch;  a hundred birds swarming my feeders, another thing happened.

 From above the canopy of oaks, my red shouldered hawk dipped down from above and scared the whole flock into chaos. I heard the slam as a cedar waxwing hit my bedroom window and broke her neck. She was the most beautiful bird I have ever seen, and I felt the intimacy of holding such wild and perfect life briefly in my hand.  I carried her to a a high spot as blood gurgled in her pretty throat. She was dying.
     And so my loving and brave boy,  the circle goes round and round; some live by strange happenstance and some die in crazy and cruel unpredictability.
     I wish so much that
you were the skunk and not the bird. Maybe you are.......

I miss you,


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Free Will

Free Will

     I remember thinking years ago, 
before all of this fell upon my heart, 
before the end 
before this unwanted beginning,
that free will seems a lot like natural selection to me.

 Natural Selection, that strangely 
Tricky and perplexing endowment
of our loving God.
Bringing order to chaos and chaos to order in equal measure.
He uses the math
To bring destruction, diversity and hope to diminishing
Lines of life.


William Blake found his way back into my brain lately; his strange and haunting words, his belief that God is really just us in our purest form, before we decided we were separate; before differences in translation and silly pride fractured the Whole. God who now elects to draw us all back together by the paradox of free will. Natural selection of the soul?

If natural selection can give, over the vastness of seemingly infinite time, a moth such exquisite camouflage as to trick the eye of the hungry other; give her one more chance to breath another day, than.....

Free Will do?

In the shortness of my limited, broken and bruised mind, all free will seems to do is hurt. It drives a refusal to do thing in ways that generally work pretty well; ways that make sense. Instead of listening to reason, we leap as our heart tells us to leap. We cheat, we lie, we envy, stray, drink, lash out at those we love and generally wander all over the fucking place instead of sticking with the whisperings of our Source....

Free will is ultimately what sent your mind in such a wild and ungovernable direction, baby. It took you toward such a terrible plunge. Free will was your final act as a human being on this good Earth. 
Free will took you away from me.

And free will is at the core of every seemingly stupid and destructive thing I have ever done, too, Ian. Every mistake, every single one.  And here is the rub. Every human inhales and exhales according to uncountable small and large acts of free will. Pure rebellion and pandemonium  if you look at it from the ant's view, in each moment. 

But if I zoom back out the the owl's eye view, far above the ant hill, then William Blake's words begin to stir something else. Our Source, Poetic Genius (as he calls God), seems to have bestowed a measure of chaos, of free will, upon our minds and the minds of every human ever born. As essential to our walk as our eyes and ears and our beating hearts. Free will bestowed on me and also given to you, my precious boy.

We are the moths, slowly over the vastness of many incarnations, gradually changing color to synchronize ourselves with some universal rhythm...some plan. Our God perhaps uses this seeming curse to pump newness through our veins, save us when we reach the end...Infinite choice and variance, colors always changing. In a crazy way, His love allowing us to make the next choice for better or worse.

  As for me, my changing is different from yours. I have become a recluse. Though I long to be in a loving tribe, in a family, I pull away according to the quite whisperings of my own free will.  I cry and wander in my own solitary way. I wonder if this self imposed exile is, too, fueled by God? I, like you, resist doing the things that would make my life much easier. I resist taking that road. It is hard and lonely, and sometimes oddly satisfying. It does not serve logic very well, or my loved ones, I suspect. It drives a wedge between me and this life that I have come to not even know anymore.

Damn I hope 
I am the first rabbit pup

Born white
As an ice age is unfolding
And not a sad abomination.
From my tribe
For reasons I don't know.
Only God knows.

And what about you? Well, I don't get to know where your free will took you or why it  moved you to go. My heart says that you simply and suddenly raised your hands high in the sky; a  tall, blonde and beautiful young conductor with baton in hand, and motioned the beginning of your final song.

It was not in the grip of madness, I say no to that..... so would William Blake, and so you have told me. You were not mad or insane. I think you were heeding some inner math, some deeply knit instinct God given and God-permitted, and final.

Some quiet thing within you, perhaps unknown even to you, that moved you to change colors and proceed down a different path that any of us wanted you to go. I guess we must all learn to find our way on this spiritual walk, on this lonely  and inexplicably confusing walk.

I wish I knew why.

I wish I had had more time to learn the grand  and infinite workings of you, Ian. All I hope, as W. Blake suggests,  is that our God is a good God; that He means us good, and each step we take in variance and wondrous free will is moving us back home.... toward Love.

I love you,